Over the years we have developed a fairly severe obsession with beauty. Most of us ladies were taught from very early on that we need to have glowing skin and perfectly shaped bodies, without any traces of cellulite. Not to mention the lengths we have to go to avoid doing something so gauche as aging. So in the quest for beauty, we do some pretty weird things, from slathering our faces with animal venom to re-purposing parts of our own beauty in the endless quest for beauty. Take a look at our list of 10 very unique attempts to achieve and maintain beauty.
10 24-Carat Facial
Traditionally, chrysotherapy and aurotherapy were used to refer to the use of gold compounds in medicine. Now, however, they're also being used to refer to this super luxe beauty treatment. Costing upwards of $650 a treatment, it improves skin elasticity and reverses damage done to skin by things like sun and smoking, and imparts a luminous (dare we say- 'golden') glow tothe skin. The spa-goer (because this is not a DIY treatment) first has their pores opened by both cleansers and massage, and then has a layer of 24-carat gold leaf applied to their skin. To optimize the effects of the mask, an LED light mask then goes over the head, and the light activates the skin cells so they are more receptive to this, the anti-aging field's Midas touch.
9 Bird Poop Facial
This treatment, originating in Japan, was reportedly first used by Japanese Geisha's to repair the damage done to their skin by the high lead content of their makeup. The skin is brightened, rejuvenated and nourished by a paste made from powdered nightingale droppings. The droppings are sanitized via exposure ultraviolet light, and then are ground to a powder. The powdered droppings are mixed with rice bran (which acts as an exfoliant), and then applied as a paste to the face. The paste is rich in nitrogen and guanine, an amino acid that can both heal and brighten skin. The treatment of the droppings apparently removes any unpleasant smell, with the rice bran giving it a slightly musky, organic aroma, but you're on your own when it comes to getting around the mental blocks against putting bird poop on your face.
8 Zer02 Treatment
Developed by preeminent European beauty and anti-aging expert, Dr. Jules Nabet, the ZerO 2 treatment claims to fight both fat and cellulite. The treatment uses carboxy therapy, a method Nabet pioneered that injects carbon dioxide under the skin to dissolve fat while rejuvenating skin as well as a cold laser that destroys fat cells. While the injections don't hurt, it's apparently very disconcerting to see the air bubbling up underneath your skin. However, the procedure promises losses of up to eight centimeters in the three weeks following the treatment, so maybe that helps overcome the Bond villain elements of a treatment that involves both needles and lasers.
7 Snake Venom Facial
For those who can't face the thought of botox, there's the all natural version: the snake venom facial. Sonya Dakar's treatment uses either Temple Viper venom or a synthetic compound that mimics Temple Viper venom's effects. The botox like effect is achieved through the venom's paralytic effects. The skin is 'gently stunned', relaxing it and inhibiting muscle contractions, which keeps the skin smooth and unlined. Strange as it sounds, celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna have both used this particular method to keep looking youthful.
6 Body Resculpting Massage
This technique was developed in Japan, where it remains most popular. Developed by Kazuhito Nagasaka, it involves intensive massage that supposedly shifts your bones closer together, leading to a more petite shape overall. Nagasaka states that receiving the massage regularly will work wonders, up to and including a waist so thin you'll look like you've had a rib removed. However, this hasn't been verified by any scientific findings. On the other hand, like most massages it will leave you relaxed (even bonelessly so!) and help with any muscle aches or pains.
5 Snail-Gel Facial
The most extreme version of this treatment involves letting live snails, under the supervision of an esthetician, ooze all over your face. For the squeamish, there're also versions that have the snail slime harvested and then applied by the esthetician. As much as my inner eight year old recoils from the idea of this treatment, it has its merits. Snail slime is rich in allantoin, elastin and collagen, after all. Allantoin is both an excellent moisturizer and soothes any irritation, while elastin and collagen both plump the skin up, diminishing the appearance of lines and imparting a more youthful look.
4 Doctor Fish Pedicure
The newest thing in spa-pedicure treatments is the Garra Rufa. The Garra Rufa, or doctor fish, is native to Turkish river systems, but has started being globally exported partially as a pet, and partially due to its use in spas. You submerge your feet in a pool with the doctor fish, who nibble away at the dead skin on your feet, leaving only baby-soft, healthy skin behind. Thankfully, the fish don't have teeth, so it feels like a tickle, but at the end of the day, you're still paying upwards of fifty dollars a session to feed someone else's fish. This particular procedure, however, has been banned in several American states and Canadian provinces due to worries about sanitation (how do you sanitize a fish, anyways?) but is growing in popularity elsewhere.
Bodywraps are popular throughout North America, and the theory is that, by tightly wrapping yourself in various materials you can both detox your skin and shave off cellulite and inches. In L.A.'s Slimwrap Salon, clients are wrapped in mineral soaked in ACE bandages and then bounced on a trampoline for over thirty minutes. This procedure tightens loose skin, leeches away toxins and contours flesh. The first wrap claims to be able to take up to eight inches off, with up to four inches on follow up appointments. While the science suggests that any shape changes brought on by body wrapping is temporary, many still swear by the wraps.
2 Placenta Plumper
For people who've taken the quest for baby-soft skin to the next level, there's the placenta facial. Available from Dr. Harold Lancer's Beverly Hills Dermatology center, the treatment includes both in-house and aftercare. First the face is exfoliated and cleansed, and then the mask (complete with mesh mask to help moisture absorption) is applied. The aftercare portion of the treatment involves a take-home serum and cream, which are to be applied daily. The facial uses an FDA-approved protein derived from human placenta, which is rich in nutrients. The process apparently rejuvenates skin cells, stimulates cell renewal, moisturizes and firms skin. Of course, such a procedure isn't cheap, with the treatment costing $500.
1 Vampire Facials
Popularized by Kim Kardashian, who underwent this gory procedure in an episode of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, this is one of most extreme beauty treatments a person can undergo without needing a surgeon and anesthetic. The procedure is supposed to be able to restore skin's youthful color, as well as smooth, tone and firm up skin, so pretty much it deals with every single aging-related skin worry. And, like eternal life a la Bela Lugosi, all it costs is your blood. First, they draw blood (about two teaspoons' worth), and stick it into a centrifuge to separate it into platelet-rich plasma. Then, after a numbing cream is applied, this platelet-rich plasma is injected into the patient's face. Apparently, this activates the growth factors contained in blood, which then increase collagen and blood flow in your skin, and apparently last for up to two years.